Digestive Health

Updated 04 July 2014

Sandoz launches first generic to market treatment for digestive disorders in South Africa

Sandoz, the generic pharmaceuticals division of Novartis, has launched the first-to-market generic medicine for the treatment of gastro-oesophageal reflux disease (GORD).

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Sandoz, the generic pharmaceuticals division of Novartis, has launched the first-to-market generic medicine for the treatment of gastro-oesophageal reflux disease (GORD); as it’s known in medical circles. GORD, is a digestive system disorder that affects the lower oesophageal sphincter, the muscle connecting the oesophagus with the stomach. Other symptoms associated with GORD include asthma, chest pain and sleep disturbance.

Worldwide, lifestyle diseases are on the increase. In South Africa alone, more than 4.2 million boxes of prescription medicine for digestive system disorders are sold annually. Poor diet and a stressful lifestyle are contributing factors.

Research shows that patients with heartburn are bothered and even incapacitated by their symptoms, and that their health-related quality of life is impaired as a result. Patients with heartburn experience worse pain, social functioning and emotional wellbeing than those with diabetes, hypertension and acute coronary events.

“Lifestyle diseases, coupled with high costs make it increasingly difficult for South African patients to access affordable treatment for their healthcare problems. Medical aids often do not pay for medicines that treat gastro-oesophageal reflux disease, out of chronic benefits, therefore it is mostly funded out of the acute/savings portion of medical aids,” says Carnie van der Linde, Sandoz Country Head for South East Africa.

Many people suffer from heartburn or acid indigestion caused by GORD. Certain foods and beverages, including chocolate, peppermint, fried or fatty foods, coffee, citrus or alcoholic beverages, may cause reflux and heartburn. In most cases, heartburn can be relieved through diet and lifestyle changes; however, some people may require medication daily or surgery to manage the disease.

 Proton pump inhibitors (PPI), such as Sandoz’s solution for heartburn are often the solution for sufferers who have tried other alternatives. The Sandoz solution for heartburn is effective in acid suppression.

“This is an exciting time for Sandoz, we are increasing access for chronic sufferers of GORD who have been paying cash for medicines”, says van der Linde.

 
 

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Dr. Estelle Wilken is a Senior Specialist in Internal Medicine and Gastroenterology at Tygerberg Hospital. She obtained her MBChB in 1976, her MMed (Int) in 1991 and her gastroenterology registration in 1995.

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